Blast you, Circle of Life.

I just went out to feed the chickens. Hot oatmeal and bologna. It’s 1 degree F.  I open the flaps of the goat shed and the chickens explode in panic. I see two dead chickens on the floor. A rooster and my youngest little hen, Honey. She was just getting tame.

The chickens are flying back and forth screeching. I look around. There is a tiny Cooper’s hawk on the perch. That little bugger was half the size of any chicken in there and he had blood on his beak from chowing down on my little hen. Blerg.

The hawk keeps flying back and forth, creating panic wherever he lands. I propped open the door flap so he could easily see the way out. No dice. The turd wanted to stay in the goat shed with his next 20 meals.

I was wearing leather mittens so I finally just picked him up by clamping his wings to his sides and carried him to the door and gave him a toss. He flew away.

I put the chicken bodies out under a tree so he can finish eating. No sense wasting them or letting a tiny hawk starve to death.

My new egg layers that I get in the spring will be locked up in the chicken house so nothing can get them.

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47 Responses to Blast you, Circle of Life.

  1. Laurie says:

    Aw, poor little chick-ons.

    • Lauri says:

      I am sad. I know I should get some more goats or a llama to protect the chicks. I am waiting to get some of Ashlee’s alpacas when she gets some extras.

  2. Redscylla says:

    Poor chick-ons, indeed. But bless you for sparing a thought to a hungry little hawk. Glad you gave him his leftovers.

    • Lauri says:

      I couldn’t blame him. But, I wish he would pick off my extra roosters and not my hens. I’m not very good at protecting my chicks. 😦

      • Redscylla says:

        Maybe put the hens in a more secure place and the roosters in a less secure place? Make them the easier meal. 😉

        • Lauri says:

          I could. I guess I have been lax because all of the chickens are getting so old. I still spoil them with lots of good food, but I am saving the secure shed for the new layers I will get in the spring.
          Getting them to all move now would be a big stress, but not as big as being eaten by a hawk. 😛

  3. Lauri says:

    Wow! I just went out to fill bird feeders and there is tiny hawk eating the chicken bodies I left out for him. At least they aren’t going to waste!

  4. stevebetz says:

    Damn. Hawks gotta be a hawk.

    The Beloved had a raccoon that was demolishing our garden a couple of years ago and then one night we hear a really raucous coyote kill out in the canyon, complete with terrified animal screaming. Stomach turning. But then the raccoon was gone and the garden was great. Circle of life.

  5. crankypants says:

    awww, poor chickens, what was Foghorn Leghorn’s little chicken hawk friend’s name?
    Glad it didn’t make more of a mess, but that is pretty traumatizing to the rest.

    • Lauri says:

      I can’t find that the chicken hawk had a name. The dog was George P. Dog. Lol. I don’t wanna know what the P. stands for.

      Silly chickens. They were traumatized until I threw Little Hawk out the door. Then I started putting the food out and they chowed down immediately.

      Chickens and goldfish. Three second memories.

  6. M-----l says:

    I think it’s rather badass that you picked up a hawk…even if it was a little one.

    (Sorry about your birds.)

    • Lauri says:

      I have these really cool gloves…the inside is a leather glove, the outside is another layer of leather shaped as a mitten over the top of the gloves. So, they are super warm and pretty tooth/beak proof. I really expected the hawk to peck at my gloves, but he was a quiet as could be as I picked him up and walked him to the door.
      I have picked opossums up by the tail with these gloves, too. Once they are dangling they go limp.
      Scary-looking buggers anyway.

  7. Emmy says:

    Aw, poor critters! I can’t imagine keeping backyard chickens, it sounds like a huge challenge to keep them safe. I’m glad you spared the Cooper’s. They are extremely aggressive, but beautiful creatures as well. If we hadn’t razed all their forests, they probably wouldn’t be so desperate for livestock. They’re interesting birds, Cornell U wrote about the fact that they fly low through vegetation and in one study, 23 percent had broken bones from smashing into trees while hunting prey.

    • Lauri says:

      I can’t imagine how difficult it must be to be a predator in the winter. Cooper’s hawks are so beautiful. I found one dead on a gravel road. He must have hit or been hit by a car. But I took him home to show my kids how beautiful they are. He wasn’t mutilated, just dead.

      It must be extra hard on young birds in their first winter. I know that a huge percentage of them don’t survive. I am really glad this guy came back to the chicken bodies. He may as well get some benefit from them.

      • Emmy says:

        That is so cool you took the opportunity to teach your kids. I used to feel helpless when I would come across dead wildlife in urban areas until my Apache friend told me they used hit by car critters for their ceremonies and education programs. So great to find a way to honor the dead.

        Young birds have a tough time for sure. Many don’t survive, that species in particular depends on ambush attacks, I think, so they need a lot of cover which also obscures their view and makes it hard to catch prey. Which is why they need to be so proactive.

        • Lauri says:

          I am still annoyed about the time I was taking the kids to school and saw a Great Horned Owl lying dead in the road. I was planning to pick him up once I dropped the kids off, but by the time I got back there someone else had gotten him.

  8. Lily says:

    I don’t know if we have Coopers hawks but I certainly punted a chicken hawk when I was a kid and one swooped in and dropped on a hen next to me. I know he thought he was going to dine and dash but he got a girl-hillbilly’s foot up his arse. I’m still proud of that.

    You eff with my babies, I eff with you. Eat something else, like any of our multitudes of fine squirrel, rabbits and other furry critters of the forest! It’s so easy when they know they have pickins that are always there. Meh.

    Glad you were there!

  9. Poor little hawk just trying to survive in the cold and snow … lol

    Will they just not go in if there’s a bigger animal in there? (Trying to figure out how a goat protects chickens).

    • Lauri says:

      Goats are territorial and our “senior” goat, Rocky, was very grumpy when anyone “invaded” his territory. He would threaten to butt them. It usually kept ‘possums and raccoons from bothering the chickens.
      One other time Ken found a hawk sitting amidst the chickens, but none of them were killed. I wonder if these two died from flying into the walls in panic and the hawk just ate them after they were dead.

  10. Yeah, get yourself another goat for those chickens, the poor silly things. Also maybe throw some bird netting, the kind they hang over trees to keep birds from eating fruit, over the doorway, maybe?

    You have a lot more presence of mind than I would have under the circumstances. I probably would have went after the hawk with a garden shovel or something silly like that.

    • Lauri says:

      I was not happy that my little hen, Honey, had died. But, blast….that’s the way it is.
      I could not kill the hawk. No way. It’s too hard for them. And if it were a raccoon or possum I would have caught and released it somewhere else. So, if Tiny Hawk comes back I only have myself to blame. I am really hoping he will have the strength to hunt the wild birds now.

    • Lauri says:

      Thanks, leenda! I am happy that the hawk had a good feed.
      I’ll have to see about blocking the entrance to the goat shed until spring.

      • leendadll says:

        I think that might be what annoyed me about the opossum killing in my backyard – whatever did it ate little more than the heart… waste of a killing

        • Lauri says:

          Yes. I hate killing. But, waste is worse.
          I really know nothing, but I do hope that something dying helps a few things to live.

        • Lauri says:

          I remember watching a nature show where a pod ? of Orcas killed a gray whale calf. It took them hours to kill it and then they only ate it’s tongue. Ugh.
          I hate nature shows.

          • leendadll says:

            i usually turn the channel when the show the killing parts. i know it’s circle of life but i still want to save all the animals and often have a hard time accepting that the documentary crew documented, instead of stepping in.

            • Lauri says:

              I have seen too many sad things on those shows. And they stay in my head and torment me, so now I stay away. I know how nature is, but watching a polar bear swim for five days and then climb onto a rock to die of starvation….or watching a baby elephant get lost from her mother….ugh. Can’t do it anymore.

  11. Inga says:

    😦 Poor chookens. Poor hungry hawk. Poor Lauri! X

  12. kimkiminy says:

    Well, at least one was a rooster. Didn’t your chooks used to roost in the trees at night?

  13. Jaypo says:

    Poor henny Honey penny! Maybe a big nasty old goose would be good protection for the chickens?? They can be really aggressive with intruders…

    You have a kind heart, Larui. It is hard for all of them in this cold. I saw a freakin’ ROBIN flying around the other day and wondered what the heck he was living on…

  14. I’m glad you let the hawk eat – winter is hard on everyone! Still, poor chickens!

  15. GOF says:

    I see there’s a lotta love for the hawk in the comments above so I won’t send you my Coopers Hawk kebab recipe this time…..but if it happens again.
    Sorry for the losses….I know how you feel Lauri.

  16. Aussie Emjay says:

    Oh, the circle of life can be a vicious thing. I’m sorry about your chickens but glad they did not go to waste….

  17. homebody says:

    Ohmygod… I’m so sorry.

  18. btw … happy belated birthday

  19. aubrey says:

    We all have to take a time out to curse the Cycle of Life.

    Last year, when I couldn’t take lunchtime inside the office any longer, I took a walk outside along the residential streets behind the office. I picked up a feather – a large one with dark stripes. When I got back to my desk, I looked it up and found that it belonged to a Cooper’s hawk. It’s one of the loveliest things I’ve found, and I still have it at my desk.

    • Lauri says:

      They are so beautiful! And fierce looking little guys! I haven’t seen him since that day, so hopefully he got up his strength and found another food source.

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